It’s a story that goes back to their junior golf days together and it’s one that will continue on Sunday as co-leaders Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel will battle it out for the Alfred Dunhill Championship title at Leopard Creek.
The two South Africans and fellow Major champions came through Saturday’s third round tied for the lead on 15 under par, five strokes clear of their nearest challengers Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Andy Sullivan.
Oosthuizen secured his place at the top of the leaderboard with a magnificent joint course record 63, while an injury-free Schwartzel showed exactly why he so loves this course with his round of 65.
And now Schwartzel, the winner of four Alfred Dunhill Championship titles and with a further four runners-up finishes here, and Oosthuizen, who has twice finished runner-up in this championship, will do what they’ve done since their early amateur days and battle each other for a title they both desperately want.
“We’ve been friends for a long time and we’ve played this game for a long time,” said Schwartzel. “I don’t think we’ll treat it any other way than just trying our best and let the outcome be what it will.”
Oosthuizen certainly wants to add his name to a trophy that is close to any South African golfer’s heart.
“It would mean a lot. It’s the one event I’ve really wanted on my CV and I’ve come close a few times. I think I’ve got a good shot at it now,” he said.
Both Oosthuizen and Schwartzel were certainly in incredible form on Saturday.
Oosthuizen surged through the field with a round of seven birdies and an eagle, while Schwartzel produced a strong back nine in which he made four birdies and an eagle over his final seven holes.
“You know, this golf course can bite you and I’ve been on the bad side of this course a few times,” said Oosthuizen. “There are certain holes where you can’t back down and you just need to make a good swing – I stuck with that today and didn’t back off on tough shots.
“It was pretty cool to tie the course record. The golf course is in such good shape that you feel like you have to play well because it’s such a beautiful setting.”
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Schwartzel had a similar approach to not fear certain shots on this course.
“Everything felt good and my golf swing was back to how I remember it. I had total control of the golf ball and that was fun.”
Behind them, Bezuidenhout remains a very real threat as well having won this title in 2020 and now lining up a shot at a second triumph here following his third round of 68.
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